Creative Virtue Press/Telical Books

Hyperreligiosity as a psychological term for religious
addiction and toxic faith

When we mention hyperreligiosity, we mean the same thing as when others say "toxic faith." Hyperreligiosity is a more established psychiatrically-used term for toxic faith. There is a timely nature of this work, as religious extremism is in the news every night. The author's hope is that the ideas in this book will become assimilated so that people drawn to acting out in religious extremism have other perspectives to consider.

This book is essentially a book on toxic faith and is instrumental for understanding why people join destructive cults. This book bridges the gap between psychological understanding and the spiritual drive. Each one done separately is usually disregarded by the audience drawn more to the other. That is, people writing on a secular psychological level do not always take into account historically important spiritual goals. But the most dangerous situation is when people with a religious drive are not instructed on the dangers of what can happen to people who are very religious and have some imbalances. This book describes how these imbalances manifest and how they can be overcome.

Earlier psychologists used to explain psychological concepts to their patients. Psychology seems sometimes in danger of becoming a lost science in the minds of many. I think it's time that people started understanding again more academic psychological concepts. It seems like there was more of a mainstream knowledge of psychological concepts in the past then there is today.

Psychologists can't agree on the spelling of the mental illness known as hyperreligiosity. It can either be spelled as, "hyper-religiousity," "hyper-religiosity," "hyperreligiosity," or "hyperreligiousity." We spell it "hyperreligiosity" because that is the most frequent spelling of the term. Hyperreligiosity is at the root of the need to join all destructive cults. This book examines the root causes why a person feels that a small group can have the answer to the greatest questions on earth.

Hyperreligiosity is the ill-fitting grasp of the role of religion and God in one's life. It is the disability that can lead to killing in the name of God, or isolation from others in the name of religion. One often sees reports in the news about people who have done various criminal acts because they believe they were guided by God to do so. The tone of this work is at once both psychological and spiritual. The author was himself diagnoses as hyperreligious as a teenager but went on to live a normal life, graduating from a secular university and starting, and maintaining for over twelve years, a software company. He uses basic psychological language to construct an analysis of the problem that takes into account the positive aspects of religion.

1. Description

The book is called "Hyperreligiosity -- Identifying and Overcoming Patterns of Religious Dysfunction." There is currently no book in print on hyperreligiosity. In fact, it is even spelled four ways about equally on a Google search. This book takes a Western psychological approach yet maintains respect for spiritual values to describe how religious thinking can become distorted in people who have certain types of emotional and mental problems. The book also describes ways to overcome this. This book will become important because people are often sold quick religious ideas that promise them everything and often leave them without many things that are needed for a healthy psychological view of the world. This book helps people overcome destructive magical thinking while maintaining a spiritual tone. The audience is the same audience who buy many of books in spirituality and psychology.

2. Table of Contents

This book is written in the style of writing known as the "literary fragment." It is in the same style of early religious texts as well many important author's works such as Pascal's Pensees and Novalis's philosophical writing. There is a preface and then numbered sections.

3. Market

The audience for the book are those who are interested in religion, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, educators, and those who may know the hyperreligious such as parents or spouses, or the hyperreligious themselves. The author was diagnosed hyperreligious as a teenager, but then went out found his own software company, become a successful rare book dealer, and develop theories in brainstorming and art. The book has well-written insights for psychologists and clergy on how the hyperreligious thinks and what kind of thinking may be liberating for them. It is written not from a perspective of an psychoanalytic theorist who must work from an aetheistic perspective, but from a recovered hyperreligious person himself. It describes what it is like living with hyperreligiosity and how he personally understands how to overcome it. He describes why hyperreligiosity is not a form of spirituality but instead a mental illness. There is a desire for a translation into Arabic for the Moslem community.

4. Competing Titles

There are currently no books with Hyperreligiosity in the title, however there are a few books written from a lay person's or clergy's perspective on religious addiction and what is called "toxic faith." The problem with these books is that hyperreligious individuals may not be seen as religiously addicted nor were ever religiously abused. They may consider themselves more sophisticated than someone who gets "addicted" to a particular group or person, and perhaps they feel on a personal "mission from God." I will show that each of these books comes from a different perspective and the Hyperrelgiosity book appeals more to the higher educated or person drawn to acceptance of interfaith beliefs, such as is common with many people today. The Hyperreligiosity book deals more with core psychological principles rather than only Evangelical or Catholic Christianity, although it is not offensive to those of those faiths.

Many of the books used to research this subject are doctoral level psychology books.

Here are the four books that have been printed on this subject.

1) "Toxic Faith: Understanding and Overcoming Religious Addiction." by Stephen Arterburn, et al. Hardcover. 314 pages Publisher: Thomas Nelson Inc. (1991)

This book is written from an Evangelical Christian perspective and may not be respected by people of mainline Christian denominations (Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian, and so on), Eastern religious, New Age or esoteric backgrounds. The author of the Hyperreligiosity book actually has had experience in practicing various religious at different times in his life. His perspective is respect for all religious paths and does not set up a precedent of a guideline which may offend Jewish, Moslem or people of other religions.

2) Healing Religious Addiction: Reclaiming Healthy Spirituality by Matthew Linn, et al, Paperback. Publisher: Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd. (1995)

This author has written books on a "pop psychology" or popular spiritual level The reading level of his book may be considered high school whereas the Hyperreligiosity book is college level. He has one book that mentions Jesus in the title so his books may be possibly be targeted for the Christian market.

3) "Toxic Christianity: Healing the Religious Neurosis," by Paul Deblassie. Hardcover. 170 pages # Publisher: Crossroad Pub Co. 1992.

This book is written by a Christian author who has written other books coming from a Christian perspective. How well members of other religions would view this book is doubtful, as may be the amount of academic psychological knowledge such a book would have respect for.

4) "Breaking the Chains: Understanding Religious Addiction and Religious Abuse," by Father Leo Booth. Paperback. Publisher: SCP Limited 1989.

This book was written by a Catholic priest and it isn't written from the same psychological perspective as the Hyperreligiosity book. Before becoming an English major, the author of the Hyperreligiosity book's first area of study in college was Cultural Anthropology and he has written works in aesthetic theory and philosophy, so he looks at his books as an intersection of philosophy, psychology and theology. This gives it a different and more concise perspective than the prose in Father Leo Booth's book. The core of the Hyperreligiosity book is numbered long paragraphs that state a general idea or meditation to think on when looking at these subjects. At times they have material that the average reader may need to do research on, but taking them in smaller sections like this is not overwhelming to most readers, and may whet the appetite to learn more about Western psychology.

There are also books such as "Asceticism and Psychiatry," "Heroic Sanctity and Insanity," and other older books written about the relationship of religion and psychopathology. However, some are written from an older Freudian perspective while others are written from a Roman Catholic perspective.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Pearson, Robert Scott.
Hyperreligiosity : identifying and overcoming patterns of religious dysfunction / R.S. Pearson
LC Control Number: 2005930060
Type of Material: Text (Book, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
1st edition
Seattle, WA : Telical Books, 2005.

ISBN: 0-9748139-2-3

Copyright 2005 All Rights Reserved

Telical Books
P.O. Box 27401
Seattle, WA 98165-2401

Back to main page for Hyperreligiosity

Please see the work on The Experience of Hallucinations in Religious Practice for a similar book by the same author and for more information that pertains to the style of this book.

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To see the extent of the problem of hyperreligiosity see this listing of cults making headlines.

Creative Virtue Press/Telical Books